Hard Things

Pup is in his room, not sleeping.

I know he’s tired. I know he needs a nap badly. I know he’ll be happier for the rest of the day if he takes his afternoon nap.

But he fights it.

It makes me wonder if I’m ever like that. Do I ever resist things just because they’re hard, or because I’d rather do something more exciting? The obvious answer is a big neon yes.

I’ve been staring at the opening of my chapter 8 for the past six days. In the past month, six days is how long I’ve averaged for each chapter. And I’ve finished four chapters.

But here I am, at a rough spot – six days of blinking at that blank page, and closing the computer when I can’t figure out how to make it work.

Maybe I need to take some time to chew on it.

But more likely, maybe I need to just remind myself that this is a first draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I’m shoveling sand into the sandbox in lopsided heaps, so that later I can form it into a beautiful sand castle. (At least, as beautiful as a first-time novelist is capable of making.)

It’s hard, but so is everything else that’s worth it.

Time Optimism

Confession: I have a tendency to run late.

I’ve struggled with this for as long as I can remember. To Darren, it’s incomprehensible how this can be a struggle for me. Being on time to everything comes easily to him, so he looks at me and thinks, “Just . . . don’t be late.”

I wish it were that easy for me.

But I think I’ve finally figured out what’s at the core of this problem: I’m a Time Optimist. (Not to be confused with Time Lord.)

In other words, I severely underestimate how much time it will take me to get out the door. Usually my estimates of how long it will take to do certain things are based on record highs.

For instance, I have managed to be in and out of the shower in under five minutes, a few times in my life. So when I’m factoring in time for a shower, my mind automatically allots five minutes. I’m being outrageously optimistic.

In addition to assuming I can shower in five minutes, I look at the clock and think to myself, That means I’ll have ten minutes to spare! That’s enough time to throw together a dessert to bring! In reality, that task will take at least 20 minutes.

So I stack up all these things I want to get done, none of which I’m able to do in the time I think I can do them.

And then we’re late. Again.

(Let’s not even get into the complications of trying to get the kids out the door too.)

The solution that seems to work better than anything else I’ve tried is “leaving a margin.”

As I’m planning what needs to happen to get us out the door, I have to stop and consciously add a margin of 15 to 30 minutes. That way, when it takes me ten extra minutes to get dressed, fix my hair, and put on makeup, I’m simply taking time away from the margin.

Or *sigh* perhaps I’m totally crazy and neurotic about the whole issue, and just need to chill.

And seriously, who am I kidding? I hardly ever do my hair and makeup anymore.